Line: Florida State by 26.
Coaches: Al Groh, second season at Virginia (5-8, 31-48, 8th year overall); Bobby Bowden, 27th season at Florida State (251-59-4, 324-91-4, 37th year overall).
What To Look For: The Cavaliers are relying heavily on underclassmen, along with one of the nation's top-rated recruiting classes. Junior Matt Schaub and redshirt freshman Marques Hagans will both see time at QB. Senior Billy McMullen is a top wide receiver with sophomore Alvin Pearman and freshman Wali Lundy in the backfield. The entire secondary returns on defense. The Seminoles must put teams away, after blowing an early 24-0 lead against Iowa State. Sophomore QB Chris Rix is off to a good start. The defense, which needed a last-play, goal-line stop to win, is led by junior T Darnell Dockett and junior LBs Michael Boulware and Kendyll Pope.
Streaks, Stats and Notes: Florida State has won the last six meetings and is undefeated (5-0) in games played at Tallahassee. ... Virginia's only series win was in 1995 (33-28). ... The Cavs have won their last four ACC openers, the longest streak in school history. ... Against Colorado State, Virginia played 10 true freshmen and five redshirt freshmen. Additionally, three upperclassmen made their first collegaite appearance. .... Virginia's roster lists 10 seniors, the second-fewest in the ACC behind Duke with just one senior.
Bowden on FSU's plans to disrupt the Cavs' young players: "It's blocking and tackling. It's blocking and tackling. You might do some things to try to pull people out of position. They do a lot of that: changing formations and everything to try to get you out of position. We don't do as much of that. We depend on execution a little bit more, but it still all goes back to blocking and tackling."
Overall Series: FSU leads 9-1
In Tallahassee: 5-0
Last Meeting: FSU 43-7, 2001 at Scott Stadium
First Meeting: FSU 13-3, 1992 at Scott Stadium
Bowden vs. Virginia: 9-1-0
Referee James Knight, Umpire W. Clark Gaston, Head Linesman Charles Neely, Line Judge Tom Symonette, Side Judge Jim Corpora, Field Judge Jerry McGee, Back Judge Virgil Valdez, Clock operator Elmo Gary.
Last week The Seminoles needed to make a goal-line stand on the game's final play to prevent overtime and a potential disastrous start to the season in last Saturday's 38-31 victory over Iowa State
Bowden passed Paul "Bear'' Bryant to move into second place on the career victory list with his 324th win, but didn't see much reason to celebrate.
Despite the frantic finish, there were some positives for the Seminoles. Quarterback Chris Rix threw for 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with flankers Anquan Boldin and Robert Morgan combining for 11 receptions and 146 yards. Tailback Greg Jones added 113 rushing yards in the victory.
Virginia (0-1, 0-0) appears to have some question marks at its key offensive positions. In its season-opening 35-29 loss to Colorado State on Friday, the Cavaliers used a quarterback rotation of Matt Schaub and Marques Hagans, the latter of whom drove the team to the Colorado State 1-yard line late in the contest before fumbling with 10 seconds to play.
Coach Al Groh declined to say who his starter would be.
Schaub threw for 73 yards and a touchdown, while Hagan accounted for 165 yards of offense and a score for the Cavaliers, who rallied from a 19-7 halftime deficit only to give up a touchdown and three field goals in the final 15:01.
"It motivates you to get back up, fight and come out swinging on Saturday,'' Schaub said. "It's only the first game. We have 12 more.''
Groh also has a rotation of tailbacks that helped grind out 221 yards in the defeat. Wail Lundy led the quartet with 94 yards, gaining ACC rookie of the week honors for his efforts.
Florida State has won the last six games between the schools since its 33-28 loss in 1995, its first in ACC competition. The Seminoles are 9-1 all-time against the Cavaliers, the lone ACC school not to allow 50 points to Florida State in a game.